Huawei MateBook 14

Cool factor 4½/5
Usability 3½/5
Value for money 3/5

Huawei may not be the first brand you think of when buying a laptop, but its new MateBook 14 recently landed on our review desk. Huawei laptops have been around for two years, but this is the first time we’ve tested one.

At first glance, it’s solid and easy to hold for its 1.49kg heft, but it feels like a MacBook copy.

It’s been a while since I set up a Windows laptop from scratch. I was pleasantly surprised that Microsoft’s artificial intelligence assistant, Cortana, talks you through it. She explains what is going on at each step, which may be reassuring to many.

The MateBook 14 is powered by Windows 10 Home, and has a 2K screen resolution (2160x1440). The display is a 10-point touch screen, which I would not have guessed because it doesn’t feel intuitive, but not something I’ve got the hang of on any laptop.

The display has a welcoming, modern 90% screen-to-body ratio. Huawei says it has a flicker-free and low blue light screen. I didn’t feel eye strain with glasses off.

The MateBook 14 is powered by an Intel 11th-gen Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. It has Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics and a built-in cooling system. The laptop was surprisingly silent but capable while I went about my day-to-day tasks.

It has the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, Bluetooth 5.1, a full-size chiclet keyboard and a 720p webcam with a bottom-up angle recessed on the keyboard between the middle function keys.

There are two USB-A ports, a USB-C charging port, an HDMI, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a fingerprint sensor that doubles up as the power button.

The MateBook 14 has the advantage of letting you tap your supported Huawei smartphone on the touchpad to activate screen share, a feature useful for video calls, multitasking for up to three apps, and fast drag-and-drop for file transfers.

Just like Huawei smartphones, it has a good battery life with energy-saving features and a 65W plug that yields 2.5 hours’ use from a quick 15-minute charge.

The MateBook 14 has some of the best features we’ve seen on Huawei smartphones. With seamless handset integration, you can work from anywhere.

It lacks an SD card reader and the webcam placement is awkward for video meetings.

It costs R24,999 from the Huawei Store but at this price point, consider a MacBook Air.

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